It’s hard to comprehend the difference between the lengthy drought experienced during the filming of this story, and the disastrous severe flooding events our region is currently experiencing. Admittedly, Flower Power was filmed haltingly over a period of many months, being weather and timing dependent (whoever thought a coastal region would run out of water?!). And to confuse things even more, when I began writing this, the long dry finally burst its banks – literally – and I witnessed the grass grow in the time it took the drops to fall.
The other morning we got up early and took a daybreak flight over The Artisan Farmer via our drone. It felt like we were in a Grand Designs episode of our own choosing as we soared like birds over the farmland and framework of The Artisan Farmer’s main build. Thanks to Hughie for the incredible drone work – takes a steady hand! Hope you enjoy the flight across our mid north coast landscape as much as we did…
While the bigger ‘mothership’ is being built in the paddock next door, here’s a quick glimpse into the craftmanship from Chris at Rustic Reproductions with the work going on at one of The Artisan Farmer’s outlying buildings… Beautiful lines and framing everywhere!
25 August 2020… An auspicious day for The Artisan Farmer project, with 36 HUGE HOLES OF PERFECTION FRESHLY DUG AND CEMENTED IN!!! Ah, the things we get excited about. Local earthmover extraordinaire Zane’s mechanical extended arm worked tirelessly to move truck loads of soil out with farm manager Murray’s help in readiness to welcome the steel frame for the build. With the large frame due in 5 weeks or so, follow this space for updates and another local producer’s story (soon to be released… yes, it’s been waiting on the sidelines for this moment) while the concrete cures. Here’s looking to mid 2021 for the grand opening!
There’s no doubt the last six months across this region and beyond redefined the boundaries of ‘challenging’ for many Australians. But life is resilient, and despite the drought, bushfires, floods, and threat of Covid 19, work has continued behind the lockdown to realise the full potential of The Artisan Farmer within an onsite presence of a cafe, deli and bakery. So pop open that champagne bottle and watch this space, the site office has been delivered and the Construction Certificate and its commitments, are in. Sometimes it’s the journey as well as the destination that matters so please, join us as we take our steps, slowly but confidently, towards realising a dream.
There’s a lot to learn about avocados. Firstly, did you know the plural of avocados is not spelt with an ‘e’ (oops. Lesson learnt). Secondly, the origins of the name comes from the Aztec word for ‘testicle’. It has also been called ‘alligator pear’, referencing the rough skin and shape of the fruit. Thirdly, when growing avocados, it’s important to fertilise, mulch, and have two different types of tree – which gets me to my last point. Some types of avocado trees are A types, and others are B types. It takes a B to fertilise an A, and it takes an A to fertilise a B. This is because each tree has BOTH female and male flowers which open at opposite times of the day. For example, the A type tree’s female flower will open in the morning, and its male flower will open in the afternoon. But the B type tree does the opposite, with the male opening in the morning, then the female in the afternoon. I believe with a bit of luck and the right wind or insect, they can even pollinate their own flowers in the brief period where the male and female flowers overlap. Confused? Me too. But I think it’s still impressive.
So many thanks to local growers Sandra Fishwick and her sons Joey and Carl Hanly from Red Plateau Organic Produce, who gave me my introductory lesson in growing avocados, seen here in this short film. They have successfully navigated the sometimes choppy waters of succession farming by expanding their business across not one but now two farms. Interestingly, other local farmers are also taking up the avocado mantle, swapping dairy herds for avocado orchards as they tap into a burgeoning industry. With avocado consumption on the rise and recipes incorporating them continuously emerging well past the traditional salad, they are part of an increasingly busy local mid north coast industry supplying both big and small business nationwide.
The Artisan Farmer’s Woosters Lane, by Andreas Tychon.
Frost? Heat? Neither.
The passing of seasons is often taken for granted, as the changes occur over a period time that we are constantly adapting to. So I was taken aback to find these photographs by local Diamond Beach photographer Andreas Tychon showcasing The Artisan Farmer‘s paddocks were taken at the same using different effects, including the use of infrared. Thanks so much for sending them to us Andreas – love your comment : “The Nabiac locale is great for this type of photography, lots of trees and grassy expanses as well as mountains and hills.”
Indeed, Nabiac may be a small village on the Mid North Coast, but we consider it the centre of the universe, with a bit of everything!
The effect of frost at The Artisan Farmer. Photographs by Andreas Tychon.
It’s not everyday you get to see a lamb being born. Truth be told, I never have until now. And while I wasn’t actually there for this particular event itself, I’ll just say they don’t call them ‘smart phones’ for nothing. So check out what Peter Doyle caught on his phone when he went to check on the Artisan Farmer flock one recent afternoon and came across Haddy – a Suffolk Dorper Cross ewe – in labour in his paddock. Bringing her up to the house yard so he could keep an eye on her, she birthed her lamb shortly afterwards. Imagine standing, defending, and drinking just moments after birth. The dexterity of both mother and baby is remarkable, both during and after labour. No doubt we as humans could learn a thing or two…
So congratulations Haddy the ewe and Johnny the ram! Your lamb is beautiful.
It was hard to know how to name this story – really, it should read ‘Perfecting Pasta and A Few Sauces Along The Way’ but that seems a little wordy (let alone, ‘Perfecting Pasta and A Few Sauces Along the Way While Gaining An Architectural Degree and Building A Tiny Home‘ – nice one Dan!)
And yet such diversity encapsulates the cottage industry producer – having enough products to appeal to everyone, but without diluting the main idea behind the thrust of your actual passion and business.
Fortunately for Mel and Dan, sauces and pasta go naturally together and they are great at growing and making both. Continue reading “Perfecting Pasta… and more!”
They say if you haven’t planted your garlic by May, then you might as well forget it.
Well, it’s now May, and as per usual I haven’t done a thing about it… But I bet Jan Goroncy has.
I first heard about Barrington’s Jan Goroncy when I was working at the local paper – a local fondly referred to him as ‘the father’ of Gloucester’s garlic movement, and it had just won a foodie award in Melbourne.
“Well,” I thought, “there’s a story.”
Juggling responsibilities between an online healthcare business and his farm near Barrington, Gloucester, Jan’s passion for wholistic farming is contagious. He is a biodynamic farmer – think Steiner, think anthroposophy, linking a mystical cosmos to the natural world of scientific facts. He buries cow dung in cow horns in synch with seasons and the moon; undug months later, the revived dung no longer has the qualities of poo – it doesn’t smell but instead has turned into an incredibly rich, fertile soil which is heavily diluted with biodynamically ‘treated’ water and then used as a fertiliser. Of course I had to ask – turns out the water treatment is about ‘breaking the memory of the water’ – then I had to ask about that too and found a simple answer – all water on earth is recycled, so it has millions of years of memory. Now there’s an interesting concept!
With no chemicals used; locally re-purposed oyster shells ground for their calcium; ‘heavily scented’ (there’s an understatement) re-purposed ‘fish stew’ brewed for, um… everything, the farming is hard work, but the flavour of produce speaks for itself. Suffering from a slight bout of pneumonia at the time of filming, Jan’s garlic nonetheless blew my head off. Fantastic!!